These delivered a story that kept me intrigued and dying to read book number three. THE ELITE did not.[/pullquote]PJV Quickie: I had a good run with sophomore releases in the last year, unfortunately I think my run is at an end, and THE ELITE ushered in the new dregs. Where I could look past the trite offerings and materialistic focus of THE SELECTION, and actually enjoy it for what it was, I couldn’t look past the shallow package that was delivered in the second novel. Where I wanted progression, I feel the characters actually digressed. Where there should have been evolution, it became convoluted and the overall effect left me under-whelmed. I wanted to love THE ELITE, instead I couldn’t wait for it to be over.
Review: There are now six out of thirty-five girls left in THE SELECTION. America is still a resident in the castle, along with the raunchy Celeste, three other girls that didn’t even make an impact (were they even there?) and then Kriss. They have a party, the rebels attack, they invite the families to the party. Someone gets in trouble, the rebels attack, American can’t decided whether she wants Maxon or Aspen. That is the entire plot. Oh yeah, Maxon gives America a book.
The whole book was a trip through America’s head, a new America, because she was nothing like the America in the first book. This America was now officially a contestant in a reality show. She was insecure, insipid and a complete 180 from the girl in the first book. She spent the majority of the book waffling between Maxon and Aspen, in some convoluted love-triangle interplay. She faulted Aspen, the guy that she was supposed to love, for breaking up with her to begin with. She faulted Maxon for being the prince he was and entertaining the other girls, which he was supposed to do. Then on top of that, she won’t tell either of them her feelings and then faults them for making “alternative” plans. It was quite ridiculous and blatantly obvious that the author is using cliched love-triangle moves to stretch out a plot that does not have enough depth to be a trilogy. What made this series strong in the first book was because of the Bachelor type set-up and the catty interaction between the girls which things interesting. Now, with only America’s POV and her trying to decide if she wants to be a Princess or not the series loses focus. It just succumbed to this whiny, I hate Maxon, I love Maxon, Aspen is my friend only, I love Aspen!
I had high hopes for this series. The author had hinted at increased rebel activity in the second novel and more “interesting” and “darker” scenes. I don’t know what she was referring to, because rebel attacks were almost comical in their shallowness. There are rebels that can break into the rulers compound and then they just spray-paint the walls? Then they just wander off out into the fields. The believability factor was not there. I think the loose plot and shoddy backbone of the series became very apparent in the second novel and without the excitement, descriptions and initial interactions in the debut novel – this series quickly revealed its true colors, showing me what it truly is: a charming and interesting idea, without anything substantial or intelligent to carry it through. The book read like a MY LITTLE PONY episode, cartoonish in nature, with rainbow and sparkles, where there should be hard-hitting and political machinations.
Am I expecting too much? The underlying world of this series is a caste system where people in lower classes are considered low-class, basically slaves. The rebels of this series are against the caste system. It is a world where the upperclass rule as overlords, and the lower classes starve to death. That is a rather complex political system, with heavy political topics that could be brought up. Should I expect more? But, here we go with the young adult genre, so we’ll deliver a “made for Disney movie” that is written for a 5th grader’s mentality. Sorry I expect I little more intelligence from my reads instead of mindless fluff.
Narration by Amy Rubinate, who is a very prolific narrator of teen fiction and romance. I don’t think I’ve ever listened to her before, but she did a competent job. I wouldn’t go out of my way to listen to her narrated books, but her narration wouldn’t stop me either. Middle road listen. Maybe if she had a better book to narrate I would have liked her better.
I will not be reading on in this series. At this point I could care-less who America chooses.
Recommendations: I do not recommend reading on in this series, even if you enjoyed the first book. I do believe it might be enjoyable for some, if you look past the shallow delivery. Recommended for tween readership and it does require that you read the first book.